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The role of workfare in striking a balance between incentives and insurance in the labour market

Author

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  • Torben M. Andersen
  • Michael Svarer

    () (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Abstract

Workfare policies are often introduced in labour market policies to improve the trade-off between incentives and insurance as an alternative to benefit reductions. Most of the debate on such policies has focussed on the direct effect of those participating in the scheme, and in particular the possible locking-in effect reducing job search. In a general equilibrium search framework, we show that the effects of workfare policies critically depend on the response of those not in the programme when they take into account that workfare is a condition for remaining eligible for unemployment benefits. This implies that unemployed not yet in workfare may search more for regular jobs, and employed may accept lower wages since the outside option becomes less attractive. Introduction of workfare policies into an unemployment insurance scheme is shown to contribute to a reduction in both open and total unemployment. It is also shown that the direct search effects of workfare policies are a poor indicator of the overall effect workfare policies have on labour market policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Torben M. Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2008. "The role of workfare in striking a balance between incentives and insurance in the labour market," Economics Working Papers 2008-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2008-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Davoine, Thomas, 2015. "A theoretical rationale for flexicurity policies based on education," Economics Series 311, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. Torben M. Andersen, 2015. "A flexicurity labor market during recession," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 173-173, July.
    3. Holzner, Christian & Meier, Volker & Werding, Martin, 2010. "Workfare, monitoring, and efficiency wages," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-168, March.
    4. Andreas Knabe & Ronnie Schöb & Joachim Weimann, 2017. "The subjective well-being of workfare participants: insights from a day reconstruction survey," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(13), pages 1311-1325, March.
    5. Christian Keuschnigg & Thomas Davoine, 2010. "Flexicurity and Job Reallocation," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-11, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    6. Hall, Caroline & Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Liljeberg, Linus & Pirttilä, Jukka, 2016. "Screening through activation: differential effects of a youth activation programme," Working Paper Series 2016:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    7. Alessio Brown & Johannes Koettl, 2015. "Active labor market programs - employment gain or fiscal drain?," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, December.
    8. Eichhorst, Werner & Konle-Seidl, Regina & Koslowski, Alison & Marx, Paul, 2010. "Quantity over Quality? A European Comparison of the Changing Nature of Transitions between Non-Employment and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 5285, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Thomas Davoine & Christian Keuschnigg, 2015. "Flexicurity, Taxes and Job Reallocation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5302, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Brown, Alessio J. G. & Snower, Dennis J., 2009. "Incentives and complementarities of flexicurity," Kiel Working Papers 1526, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Torben M. Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2007. "Flexicurity: Labour Market Performance in Denmark," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(3), pages 389-429, September.
    12. European Commission, 2011. "Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2011: tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability," Taxation Papers 28, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    13. Lukas Fervers, 2016. "Fast track to the labour market or highway to hell? The effect of activation policies on quantity and quality of labour market integration," IAW Discussion Papers 125, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    14. repec:ces:ifodic:v:6:y:2008:i:4:p:14567193 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Torben M. Andersen, 2016. "Automatic stabilizers—the intersection of labour market and fiscal policies," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, December.
    16. Torben Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2008. "Flexicurity in Denmark," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(4), pages 15-20, December.
    17. Andersen, Torben M., 2012. "Migration, Redistribution and the Universal Welfare Model," IZA Discussion Papers 6665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Torben M. Andersen, 2011. "Social policies and activation in the Scandinavian welfare model: the case of Denmark," Economics Working Papers 2011-10, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    19. Jochen Michaelis & Alexander Spermann, 2009. "Geringqualifizierte Arbeit, Marktlöhne und Sozialpolitik: Konzepte für Deutschland," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200920, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Workfare; Labour market performance;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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